Mom raises money to pay off delinquent lunch accounts

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Heather DiRocco is on a mission to make sure all kids get a quality school lunch at a Norfolk elementary school.

She is raising money to pay off about 30 delinquent accounts at Ocean View Elementary. The combined balances total about $200, according to Norfolk Public Schools (NPS).

Students with negative balances of $5 or more are given a free option of a cheese sandwich and milk, according to the school district, which DiRocco says is appreciated, but not acceptable.

“These kids are growing. A cold cheese sandwich is not going to cut it,” said DiRocco.

At the beginning of the school year, DiRocco says her three kids’ accounts became delinquent while their applications for the free and reduced lunch program were being processed. The school started feeding her 2nd, 3rd and 5th grade kids cheese sandwiches.

DiRocco says her kids are now on the program, which gives students more choices, but she learned from the cafeteria manager that there are kids not on the program who still owe money.

“She was saying there’s a lot of kids in school who are eating these cold cheese sandwiches, and it breaks her heart but it’s not their fault,” said DiRocco.

DiRocco not only wants to pay off the 30 accounts, but she also wants to raise awareness so people will start thinking about making a donation to their local school.

“There is some child in that class who could be a future scientist. He could be a future president for all we know, but he or she is not putting enough effort into class because they are focusing on being hungry,” said DiRocco.

NPS says the district mails about meal applications are sent out in August, as parents are required to register each year for the free and reduced lunch program. For an application, click here.

DiRocco has started an online fundraising page. To donate, click here.